‘Golf Éducatif’ has been awarded the 2017 President’s Award for Golf Development (Project) by the PGAs of Europe at the Association’s Gala Awards supported by Rolex.
The President’s Award for Golf Development acknowledges the work of an individual or specific project that has excelled in developing golf. Since 2003, Golf Éducatif has worked to use golf as an educational tool that promotes the values associated with the game – respect, etiquette, humility, environmental awareness, concentration, and citizenship – to French schoolchildren and adults regardless of their socio-economic background, or physical and mental capabilities.
The Project develops environmental and social awareness and helps people to take responsibility by getting them involved in the construction, development and up-keep of their own golf courses, with well over 20 courses being created across France.
The Project is the brainchild of PGA of GB&I Professional, Bill Owens [pictured below, left], who has led it from its very beginning and received the award at the 2017 Annual Congress at Costa Navarino in Greece from PGAs of Europe Honorary President, George O’Grady CBE [pictured below, right].
“I can’t wait to take this into all the golf courses we have built and I know the pupils are going to be so proud,” said Owens after receiving a standing ovation during the awards ceremony. “This could really help us to build more Golf Éducatif courses all over France. A lot of people said we couldn’t do this but I love that kind of challenge – this is a real rocket that will let an awful lot of people know what we’re going to do with golf and what Golf Éducatif is.
“I see Golf Éducatif as an important educational solution because we’re in a serious situation worrying about the environment. The philosophy that the project works on is that there is 82% of the world’s population living in 18% of the territory…so we have to have an education for children that shows how they get in contact with the environment and we believe they can only do this through a game, and that game is golf. They need the tools to do this and Golf Éducatif can be that tool, and is what education will be about in the future…we have a model that can set an example for the world.”
Owens’ specific teaching method called “Le Geste Naturel”, combined with the use of 30% distance golf balls, enable participants to play in a wide variety of environments such as sports grounds, educational facilities, public parks, derelict and un-used land and the grounds of psychological and physiological health units.
Courses are built so they are adapted to the 30% ball and participants are then able to learn using an “educational golf” teaching formula taught to teachers and educators that creates a multi-disciplinary experience including artistic and creative studies, mathematics, physics, sport, history, and civil instruction.
The programme’s strong environmental focus creates awareness and individual responsibility for the ever-increasing urban population through the re-use of existing, inner-city land, and recycling of golf equipment and any items that are available to participants, such as old tyres to build greens, leftover paint, old building materials and even clothing.
The project has worked tirelessly to place golf in the heart of the education system in France with around 50 teachers or educators being taught every year, each of which is working with around 30 pupils.
Owens presented an overview of the project during the 2017 Annual Congress sessions to representatives of Member Country PGAs showing how the model could be rolled out internationally allowing other countries to also see substantial social, physical and psychological benefits.
For more information on the 2017 Annual Award Winners visit Annual Congress Hub Page (http://eur.pe/2017AnnualCongress), follow @PGAsofEurope on Twitter and search the hashtag ‘#AnnualCongress’ or like the PGAs of Europe Facebook Page.
The Annual Congress Gala Awards are partnered by Rolex, Costa Navarino, the Ryder Cup European Development Trust, BMW and Aegean Airlines, and are supported by The Botanist, The Blue Beetle, Bulldog, G’Vine gins, Marendry apperitivo, and Fever-Tree Premium Natural Mixers.